“Menina” is Portuguese for ‘little girl’. Nina is short for “menina”, but our Nina is a big, cuddly girl. She was found starved, pregnant and close to death near a dustbin.
Caroline England from Pet Park has cared for many abandoned dogs: “The lucky ones get re-homed fairly quickly.” APAA, the Association for Protection of Animals Algarve, relies on people like Caroline and a network of supportive people helping in every way that is humanly possible.
Jenny Clarke, president of APAA, says: “It’s that dirty word … money.” She smiles ruefully. “It all comes down to paying for food, vet’s fees…”
APAA has a long history of looking after animals in need, especially controlling the cat population, which is a huge project. Luckily, the Câmara in Portimão has been supportive. “It seems as if the minute you have the money, it’s already spent on neutering and spaying. Even though vets keep charges to the minimum, it costs money!”
Zélia Santos and friends run about 20 cat colonies. And it’s 20, sometimes more, cats to each colony. APAA needs more helping hands. “Shame we cannot get some younger people involved. Stalking cats quietly is a bit of trial and error.”
Trapping cats for transport and medical attention has to be planned. “Cats will alert one another when there is a problem,” explains Zélia, wrapped up against the cold afternoon. “Usually, we catch them whilst feeding.”
Dogs, more trusting, will come for food, by the bin or a bush, their adopted shelter. Sad but true. Dogs wait patiently for their owners to return and collect them (“surely they didn’t mean to leave me here!”)
Hungry, cold, often female, heavily pregnant, or nursing a newborn litter … the best of the bunch get taken for breeding and are usually male.
APAA’s Anita, who was at a recent Pop-Up event at O Tasco in Senhora do Verde said: “We are doing really well. Thanks to João, we’re going to be here for another couple of weeks.”
Why not pop-in, visit Anita and have a chat? The next Pop-Up at O Tasco is tomorrow, Wednesday, December 8, followed by another on December 15, from 12 noon to 2pm (book lunch direct – 282 471 769). There will be plenty of pre-Christmas specials, home-made chutneys, shortbread, cards and calendars, cuddly toys, and much more!
So, back to our Nina, or could it be “your menina”?
Gorgeous Nina is around 10 years old. She is a great, healthy, huggable, caring, cuddly, loving, loyal girl. A good guard dog. She gets on well with other dogs. What are you waiting for? You both could be keeping each other warm this Christmas. Why not visit her and the other dogs at Pet Park?
APAA charity shops:
• Alvor, Dunas Complex, Monday-Saturday, 10.30am-2pm
• Silves, Rua Elias Garcias, 20, Monday-Friday, 10am-2pm Christmas specials are in now. Volunteers are always welcome.